Monday, October 16, 2017

Ocracoke Alive Fall News: Latino Festival, Proposed Ocrafolk Festival Changes, Fall Membership Meeting

Greetings from Ocracoke Island and Ocracoke Alive!

We are getting ready for a busy fall and would love for you to be a part of our events. This newsletter tells about the upcoming Festival Latino de Ocracoke, proposed changes to the Ocrafolk Festival (we want your input!), and what is happening on the island in November and December. Hope that you are enjoying the season!

Your friends at Ocracoke Alive
Ocracoke Alive November / December Schedule
  • November 11 (Saturday) ~ Festival Latino de Ocracoke. Grounds of Books to be Red, Ocracoke School, Ocracoke Community Center. 11 AM-Midnight
  • November 17 (Friday) ~ Ocracoke Alive Fall Membership Meeting. Deepwater Theater. 7 PM
  • November 24 (Friday) ~ Ocrafolk Thanksgiving Fundraising Concert (Tentative) Deepwater Theater. 7:30 PM
  • December 7 (Thursday) ~ Ocracoke Community Christmas Concert. Ocracoke Community Center. 7:00 PM
  • December 15 (Friday) ~ Concert with Finley Woolston and his Joyful Band of Singers. Ocracoke Methodist Church. 7:30 PM

Continue the Celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month with Fesitval Latino de Ocracoke (Saturday, November 11, 2017).

            Although October 15 marks the close of National Hispanic Heritage Month in the US, on Ocracoke the celebration is right around the corner! November 11, 2017 brings the 2nd annual Festival Latino de Ocracoke to our community.  The festivities will begin the week before with a number of workshops at the Deepwater Theater, such as papel picado handicrafts and dance lessons. 
            On November 11, the Festival Latino de Ocracoke day activities will take place on the grounds of Books to be Red on School Road. Traditional games and food from different regions of Mexico will be present, as well as Tamale, Churro, and Itacate workshops. “Flor y Canto”, a folkloric group with roots from Guerrero, Mexico, will perform throughout the day. That evening, a program including music and traditional dances by Ballet Folklorico “Orgullo y Alma Latina” and community members will be held at the Ocracoke School Gym followed by a Latino dance at the Ocracoke Community Center featuring Kalidad Musical. 
            Festival Latino de Ocracoke is organized by the Ocracoke Latino community with the support of Ocracoke Alive.
Click to Read More & Help Sponsor Festival Latino de Ocracoke!

Give Us Feedback on Proposed Changes to Ocrafolk Festival

Ocracoke Alive Considers Changes for Ocrafolk Festival, Seeks Community Input.

           In 2018, Ocracoke Alive’s Ocrafolk Festival will turn 19 years old. What started in 2000 as a small, single day event on the grounds of the Berkley Manor has grown to a three-day weekend that draws faithful followers from around the country for a celebration of music, stories, artisans, and the Ocracoke community.
            With the growth of the event, Ocracoke Alive has worked to listen to the needs of the community, increasing performance locations around the village, bringing the performers to Ocracoke School students, and implementing the ideas and feedback of the Ocracoke residents and Ocrafolk fans. The island nonprofit is once again asking for community input.
            The growth of the festival has resulted in an increase in its infrastructure and expenses. In 2017, the Ocrafolk Festival expenses were around $67,000, with an income of $69,000 after Cost of Goods. Around half of the expenses go towards businesses right in the Ocracoke community, with the remaining expenses covering visiting performers, equipment rental, and insurance. A little under $30,000 in pre-festival sponsorships comes from a faithful group of Ocrafolk fans, $6000 from Hyde County Occupancy Taxes, $18,000 from product sales, $5000 from a fundraising auction, and the remaining income from vendor fees. The bottom line from 2018? The event made around $2000.
            The Ocrafolk Festival has relied upon voluntary admission contributions to date, but Ocracoke Alive is considering requiring admission bands to gated seating areas for 2018’s event. “We want to ensure that we maintain the spirit of this great community event, but we also need to be certain that the event is a successful fundraiser for Ocracoke Alive (and doesn’t bankrupt it), so that we can continue our mission of building cultural programming on Ocracoke,” says Executive Director, David Tweedie.
            The suggested plan would not restrict visitors from strolling festival grounds (many of which are on public areas of the village), but would require attendees to have an admission armband to enter into audience seating areas. The 2017 “Requested Donation” level for visitors to support the festival was $25 for adults and $15 for kids for the weekend. Similar music and storytelling festivals throughout country commonly cost $40-50 per day per attendee.
            As the festival has grown, it has drawn a greater audience, but the audience has become less inclined to make “voluntary” donations. Many consider the cost of coming to Ocracoke as their donation, and mistakenly believe that the event is completely sponsored by the town. “Their response to our requests for a donation is that they already spent a lot of money to be here,” says David. “Unfortunately, that sentiment doesn’t pay for the event or support Ocracoke Alive programming.”   
            Ocracoke Alive uses monies from activities like the Ocrafolk Festival to bring programming to the Ocracoke community. The organization sponsors and directs the Ocracoke School Arts Partnership, supports Ocracoke Arts week, produces the Festival Latino de Ocracoke, and summertime programs. In 2018, Ocracoke Alive will produce Julia Howard’s A Tale of Blackbeard, and will sponsor visiting director, Karen Gulotta who will be working with Ocracoke students in the spring.
Give Us Feedback on Proposed Changes to Ocrafolk Festival

Ocracoke Alive Fall Membership Meeting at Deepwater Theater (Friday, November 17, 7 PM)

Ocracoke Alive welcomes you to our home at Deepwater Theater, School Road, Ocracoke on Friday, November 17 for our annual Fall Membership Meeting. We will provide the desserts as we wrapup  2017, vote in new board members, ask for your input, and let you know our plans for 2018. Look forward to seeing you there at 7 PM!

Thanks for your support! Ocracoke Alive 2017 Board of Directors

Desiree Ricker ~ President, Assistant Director
Tom Pahl ~ Vice President
Gary Davis ~ Treasurer
Sharon Brodisch ~ Secretary
Allison O'Neal
Freddy Contreras
Jeanie Owens
David Tweedie ~ Executive Director

Monday, May 29, 2017

Ocrafolk Festival Here We Come!

Ocrafolk Festival weekend is almost here, but the fun can start right now! We have some fabulous items in our Festival Art Auction. You can view them and start bidding online today!

Coming to the island for Ocrafolk? On Friday after music at the Live Oak Stage from 1-5 PM, join us at the Community Center 5-8 PM for music by mahaloJazz and De Tierra Caliente, light hors d' ouerves and drinks, and auction fun.

For more details on the Ocrafolk Festival 2017, click on the program link below.

Thanks for your support! Ocracoke Alive 2017 Board of Directors

Desiree Ricker ~ President, Assistant Director
Tom Pahl ~ Vice President
Gary Davis ~ Treasurer
Sharon Brodisch ~ Secretary
Allison O'Neal
Freddy Contreras
Jeanie Owens
David Tweedie ~ Executive Director

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Ocrafolk Festival Donors ~ Program Deadline

Ocrafolk Festival 2017 Sponsorships

We want to include you in the program!

Hi there Ocrafolkies!

     Just a brief note to remind you that our Ocrafolk Program goes to press in about a week. We would love to recognize all our sponsors in print . . . so if you are planning to support the festival, the time is here! You can see details about levels and fabulous perks at

Festival Schedule Posted

      Just can't wait to find out what is happening Ocrafolk Festival weekend? The schedule has just been posted! Take a look to see where you would like to be when, and keep checking back for updates.

Ocrafolk 50/50 Art Auction Inviting Submissions
     Would you like to enter a piece of Artwork in the Ocrafolk Festival 50/50 Art Auction (held on June 2 at the Ocracoke Community Center)? Ocracoke Alive would love to have you involved! The Ocrafolk Festival 50/50 Art Auction is one of the primary means of raising money for the Ocrafolk Festival and Student/Cultural Arts Programming in the Ocracoke community. Proceeds from the auction of art donations will be split 50/50 with the donor (of course you can contribute the full amount if you wish). Visit or contact David Tweedie at for more information.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Telling the Tale of the Black Squall (Performance, Thursday, April 13, Ocracoke School Gym) . . . Ocrafolk Festival Update . . . A Visit from the Salem Select Choir . . . Vote for Your Favorite Ocrafolk Festival T Colors. . .

Telling the Tale of the Black Squall (Performance, Thursday, April 13, 7 PM, Ocracoke School Gym) . . .

           We are less than a month away from the student performance of The Tale of the Black Squall, and preparations began this week with students working with visiting artists, Courtney Conner (teaching tumbling and movement), and Paul McKibbins (with singing and choral arrangement). Ocracoke art teacher, Kitty Mitchell, and set designer Mark Brown will be guiding students in the creation of costume and critter, Gary Mitchell and Charles Temple on Sound and Lights, and Desiree Ricker and David Tweedie are finalizing the script and schedule details.
            Ocracoke Arts Week (April 10-13), will feature Paperhand Puppets (character movement), Jef the Mime (clowning), Scott Paulson (Steel Drums), Jubal Creech (Percussion), and Janet Harriman (Jewelry Crafting). This team will be aiding our young community members in the creation of a show that will tell the tale of the famous 1861 Black Squall Shipwreck that brought a circus troupe to the beaches of Ocracoke Island.
            Ocracoke Alive is asking Ocracoke supporters to consider making a tax-deductible donation towards Arts Week. Donors will be thanked in the Black Squall Program, and can receive reserved ringside seats for the performance. Donations can be made online at or through the mail to Ocracoke Alive, PO Box 604, Ocracoke, NC 27960.

March 31-April 1: A Visit from the Salem Select Girls Choir
            The Salem Select Girls Choir under the direction of Lynne German are bringing their show choir to Ocracoke, for performances and workshops for Ocracoke students on March 31, and a free community concert at Ocracoke Alive’s Deepwater Theater on April 1st, at 7 PM.
            The performers are a small but diverse group of students from Salem High School in Virginia Beach, and are joined together by their common love of singing.  As the program’s top singers, they have auditioned for their spot in the group, and they accomplish a lot with only one after-school rehearsal each week.  Their music covers a variety genres, from Classical to Spiritual to light Pop and Rock, with a few original works by their Director, Lynne German. We welcome their return to the island to share their talents!

What is happening in Ocrafolk Festival land . . .

            The Ocrafolk Festival inches closer and closer, and we are starting to get excited! The Artisan Application closed March 15, and the Artisan Committee will announce this year’s artisan roster by April 1st.
            Performers include Bio Ritmo, Violet Bell , Mitch Barrett, Hank, Pattie and the Current, Ballet Folklorico Guadalupano, Donald Davis, Molasses Creek, Martin Garrish and Friends, Beleza, Lipbone Redding, The Blue-Eyed Bettys, Mahalo Jazz, De Tierra Caliente, Oak Grove String Band, Bob Zentz and Jeanie MacDougall, Paperhand Puppets, Jef the Mime, Amy and Louis Allen, Craicdown, John Golden, the Green Grass Cloggers, Philip Howard, Rob Temple and the Skipjack Wilma Lee,  Rodney Kemp, and more.
            In addition to new performers, this year we will be featuring a new Ocrafolk Festival Dance Hall at the Ocracoke School Gym.  We have more excitement on the way, so stay tuned.
            Sponsorship levels and rewards have been posted and we will tell you more about them at the end of the month. If you can't wait to jump in, here is a link.

Vote for your favorite Ocrafolk Festival T Colors!

            Karen Rhodes's fabulous festival design is complete and we have moved to picking our favorite background colors to display it on. You can be a part of the process. Just click this link, and pick your top three colors in Men’s and Women’s styles. We’ll announce the winning pallet in a couple of weeks!

That's all for now!
Thanks for your support!

Ocracoke Alive 2017 Board of Directors
Desiree Ricker ~ President, Assistant Director
Tom Pahl ~ Vice President
Gary Davis ~ Treasurer
Sharon Brodisch ~ Secretary
Allison O'Neal
Freddy Contreras
Jeanie Owens
David Tweedie ~ Executive Director

Friday, February 3, 2017

February News: 2017 Ocrafolk Festival Art, Performers, Pre-Sales, Festival Artisan Application Deadline, and The Tale of the Black Squall

       Is it really 2017? Already? With the New Year upon us, Ocracoke Alive is more committed than ever to enriching our community for both locals and visitors. Although the Skipjack Wilma Lee is quietly tied up at the Community Store docks, there is the scurry of performers feet at Ocracoke Alive's Deepwater Theater as students of the Ocracoke School Performing Arts hone their craft. Soon the spring Arts Partnership will be in full swing, and Arts Week is just around the corner, April 10-14.  Both of these will culminate in The Tale of the Black Squall performance on Thursday, April 13th at 7 PM at the Ocracoke School Gym. Read more below! Next month we plan to share with you new ventures into community gardening, Latino festivities, and a possible community choir!

2017 Ocrafolk Festival Artwork by Karen Rhodes
Ocrafolk Festival Performers Announced, Artisan Applications Open Til March 15
    While we anxiously await the 18th annual Ocrafolk Festival in June (2nd-4th) the planning, booking, and selection process is already well underway. Above is a sneak peak at this year’s artwork by Ocracoke Island resident Karen Rhodes. Thanks so much for her brilliant work! Can't wait to have it splashed across our T-shirts on festival weekend!

    The festival performers have been selected. This year we welcome newcomers Bio Ritmo, Violet Bell, Mitch Barrett, Hank, Pattie & the Current, Ballet Folklorico de Guadalupano, and Amy Allen. We are also thrilled to have so many returning performers from previous years.

-Martin Garrish and Friends
-Donald Davis
-Molasses Creek
-Bio Ritmo (salsa)
-Violet Bell (Lizzy Ross & Omar Ruiz-Lopez)
-Mitch Barrett
-Lipbone Redding
-The Blue Eyed Bettys
-Hank, Pattie and the Current
-Ballet Folklorico
-Mahalo Jazz
-De Tierra Caliente
-Amy and Louis Allen
-Bob Zentz
-Paperhand Puppet Theater

There may be more additions in the next month, so keep posted!

Artisan Applications are now available online
If you are interested in having an artisan booth at this year’s festival, please visit and submit your application today! The deadline for Ocrafolk Festival Artisan applications is March 15.

Ocrafolk Festival PreOrders ~ A Perfect Valentine Gift for that Ocrafolk Fan! Avoid Waiting in Line in June!
February is also the month of early ticket sales and festival packages! These are now available for purchase online.  Pre-order your tickets as a gift for yourself or as a great surprise for your Valentine!

Avoid the dreaded Ocrafolk Festival Moment . . . you rush to the merchandise booth to secure your T-shirt and mug with the fabulous new design, and wrestling your way to the front, you discover that the last has just been sold!

1. Pre-order online
2. We will contact you when we have finalized shirt and mug styles so that you may pick our your preference.
3. You will choose if you want to pick up your items at the festival or have them shipped.

That way you just pop off the ferry, don your shirt and button, and you are ready to strut the festival grounds!
2017 Arts Partnership & Arts Week: The Black Squall Production
    This year’s Arts Week and Arts Partnership aims to integrate the arts and Ocracoke Island history.  The activities and classes with these two programs will culminate in a student community performance of The Tale of the Black Squall at 7 PM on Thursday, April 13 at the school gym. Both the Arts Partnership and Arts Week will include elements of performing arts from juggling and steel drums, to singing and tumbling. Each group of students, will have opportunities to showcase what they have learned as part of a retelling of this fascinating Ocracoke story.

Show Your Support!
These two projects cost roughly $15,000. The majority of the funds come from sponsors just like you. Artists travel from the across country to serve as instructors during this exciting time. Please take a moment and consider donating to this year's Black Squall Project.

The Tale of the Black Squall
    When the Black Squall wrecked off of Ocracoke Island in April of 1861, the storm washed ashore the remenents of a circus troupe, including giant tents, silk ribbons, dancing ponies, and a menagerie of animals. Walter Howard wrote an account of this wreck in the 1950s, as he learned it from Old Kade Williams, who was 17 in 1861. Nixon’s Circus, sometimes called Nixon’s Royal Circus and Menagerie of Living Animals, was en route from a performance in Havana, Cuba to Philadelphia, when it encountered a terrible storm. According to Old Kade in Walter's story:

“Well the beach was strowed with animals from Lord knows where. Tigers, lions, bears, and there was one there whose neck was longer than his body.”
“That was all kinds of things that washed up on the beach. Even to bales of hay and fodder.  They had that for the animals, I guess.
“Silks and satins, and costumes by the hundreds. The purtiest you ever seed.
“Tents, I’ll bet there was a thousand of ‘em. The men folks made sails for their boats out of them and one big tent I remember they put that up out on the beach hills and held a camp meeting in it."


    To read more on the account and Walter Howard's story, visit Philip Howard's 2007 blog on the story at

Student Activities and Opportunities for Involvement
    The Tale of the Black Squall will offer a variety of opportunities for the students of Ocracoke. Visiting instructors will be working with different classes on show elements. Skills will include Ocracoke activities like Squaredancing and Fig Cake Baking, as well as group movement and dance, circus poster design, circus arts (tumbling, clowning, and juggling), and music on steel drums and percussion.
    Middle School and High School students will also have opportunities to learn about set construction and design, lighting and sound, stage managing, and will be able to to participate as members of production teams that will be working towards the final week.  Although 11th & 12th graders will be traveling during Arts Week, they will still be able to participate in the Arts Partnership programs leading up through April.

Upcoming Events
January 1-March 15 ~ Ocrafolk Festival Artisan Application open.
February 1-April 7 ~ Arts Partnership
April 10-14 ~ Arts Week
April 13, 7 PM (Thursday) ~ The Tale of the Black Squall at Ocracoke School.

Thanks for your support! Ocracoke Alive 2017 Board of Directors
Desiree Ricker ~ President, Assistant Director
Tom Pahl ~ Vice President
Gary Davis ~ Treasurer
Sharon Brodisch ~ Secretary
Allison O'Neal
Freddy Contreras
Jeanie Owens
David Tweedie ~ Executive Director 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Ocracoke Alive News: 1st Annual Festival Latino de Ocracoke (November 12)! Ocracoke survives Hurricane Matthew. And more!

Annual Festival Latino de Ocracoke is almost here! Nov. 12

On Saturday, November 12, Ocracoke will host the first annual Festival Latino de Ocracoke. Events will take place at Ocracoke School from 11 AM to 9 PM, followed by a dance at the Ocracoke Community Center from 9 PM to midnight. (Click here for a detailed program)
The Festival Latino de Ocracoke will be a day to honor vibrant Hispanic traditions, and a day to celebrate the unity of all who are part of this great community. Through delicious authentic food, traditional dances and music, exciting games, crafts, and fun for all ages, organizers hope this festival will bring the community together to experience and enjoy the friendship of our cultures.

Ballet Folklorico de Guadalupano

Ocracoke Island has become home to many Latinos over the past 20 years. Just as the Ocracoke community has opened its doors and embraced many Hispanic families, organizers of the Festival Latino invite the community to join in a fun-filled day of sharing and learning that will strengthen the bonds between cultures through the celebration of differences and the appreciation of all we have in common.

“We are very excited to partner with Ocracoke’s Latino community and assist them in producing this event,” says David Tweedie, executive director of the community non-profit Ocracoke Alive.  “Ocracoke’s Hispanic residents have become an integral part of our community as friends, co-workers, and business and property owners. We are thrilled for this opportunity to learn more about their culture,” says David.

Festival committee members include Freddy Contreras, Eduardo Chavez, Gloria Perez, Adrian Espinoza, Cira Badillo, and David Tweedie.

In addition to performances and presentations by Ocracoke residents, visiting artists will include Ballet Folklorico Guadalupano (dance) and Fantasia Huasteca and
Mariachi Espuelas de America.

“The majority of Latin Festivals around the nation are created with the main objective of celebrating the Latino or Hispanic culture. However, we want this one to be a little different,” said Freddy Contreras, member of the festival committee. “We want this festival to be an occasion where all participate, build friendships, and get to know each other’s cultures. We share a wonderful place as a home and I personally think that we all should always be united in working for the best of this community,” says committee chair Freddy Contreras.
Mariachi Espuelas de America

The event receives financial support from Ocracoke Alive, the Ocracoke Civic and Business Association, Eduardo’s Tacos as well as from businesses and individual sponsors. A portion of proceeds will benefit Ocracoke School and the Ocracoke Child Care.

Show your support of the Festival Latino de Ocracoke!
There are two ways to make a donation.
1. Mail in a tax deductible contribution to "Ocracoke Alive, PO Box 604, Ocracoke, NC 27960"

2. Donate Online at
Read more by clicking the button below.

Donors will receive
(1) A Festival T-shirt for every $50 donated
(2) Thanks on Website & from Stage
(3) Tax Letter from Ocracoke Alive
Questions? Contact David Tweedie (252) 921-0260

Ocracoke Receives a 4 AM Visit from Hurricane Matthew

Village Craftsmen on Howard St. as seen from Fiddler Dave's back porch.

We have our fair share of storms on Ocracoke, but Hurricane Matthew was certainly one for the books. With the exception of those who remember the storm of ’44, Matthew covered the island with more water than any current residents had seen. At the Village Craftsman the water level measured at 4.5 inches above Hurricane Alex (the highest water level previously recorded). Deepwater Theater flooded about six inches inside but had little damage once the water went down.
Ocracoke Alive's Deepwater Theater really lives up to its name!

The Skipjack Wilma Lee was safe at the National Park Service docks, thanks to Captain Rob who had moved it prior to the storm. This level of water caused a massive amount of destruction to cars, homes, freezers and refrigerators stocked with food and, most importantly, the ability to restore what was lost as businesses were forced to close. While the community of Ocracoke is amazingly resilient, there are plenty of people relying on help from UMCOR, Albemarle Food Bank, FEMA and other organizations that have recently visited the island to help.Fallen branches and flooded debris from Ocracoke village take up half of the Lifeguard Beach Parking Lot

Gary Mitchell of Molasses Creek made a video of Hurricane Matthew as viewed from his soundside porch.

Classes at Deepwater!

Fall at Deepwater Theater means a renewed focus on upcoming performers and artists and a rest for those who performed all summer. Ocracoke School of Performing Arts began their fall session in September offering classes to students 3 and up in acting, dance, musical theater and singing. Each day after school students chasé into the theater in tutus, sing songs from classic musicals, or practice their skills in acting and improvisation…and it’s beautiful! Community classes and events, from concerts and yoga to piñata making and past life regressions (really!) are either scheduled or already happening. It’s an exciting time of year as the theater transforms from a space entertaining visitors to one bursting with local children and adults.

Test run of Skipjack Wilma Lee Educational Programs a success!

The educational programs aboard the skipjack Wilma Lee that we field tested this fall were well received.  We held a total of 5 programs, 4 Saturday programs and one weekday program for a junior Girl Scout troop.  In total, we reached 18 students and 16 adult learners who all responded positively and felt that had learned something new about sailboats and navigation.  This was also a learning experience for us as we tested our programs and made additions, adjustments and realized that we have a lot of fun and interactive information that we can share.  We are looking forward to tweaking these programs and offering a few more this spring in hopes of attracting student groups from off the island.  Many thanks to Laura McClain and Tom Pahl for their hard work! Also thanks to all the donors who supported our Labor Day Gala. You made the workshops possible!

Upcoming Events

November 17, 7:00 PM ~ Ocracoke Alive Fall Membership Meeting at Deepwater Theater

November 25, 7:30 PM ~ Ocrafolk Festival Thanksgiving Fundraiser. Join members of Molasses Creek, storyteller Donald Davis, and performers from the Ocrafolk Community for our annual concert. $15 Adults, $7 Kids

December 9, 7:30 PM ~ Free Christmas Concert with Finley Woolston and the Joyful Band of Singers. At the United Methodist Church.


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Skipjack Wilma Lee Labor Day Gala, New Educational Programs, Latino Festival de Ocracoke, Ocrafolk Festival and More!

Is it just me or is the humidity a bit less? Kids are heading back to school and geese south, so it must mean that we are wrapping up another summer on Ocracoke Island. Here is what happened over the past few months, and what we are looking forward to this fall.

Get Ready to Set Sail for the 3rd Annual Skipjack Wilma Lee Labor Day Gala, Sunday, Sept 4th!

Artwork by Mark Brown
We have managed to make it through an entire year since our last taste of Tom Pahl’s famous grilled shrimp . . . but we can’t take it anymore! Fortunately the Annual Skipjack Wilma Lee Labor Day Gala is right around the corner on Sunday, Sept 4th. By making a donation of any amount, you can join us for stories, drinks, and fabulous hors d’oeuvres from 3-6 PM at the Community Square Docks.

Ocracoke Alive invites visitors and community members alike to step aboard our flagship vessel, to enjoy a beautiful afternoon and hear about our latest developments in our educational programming. Donors who contribute $100 or more are also invited to bring a guest on board for a special sunset cruise at 6:30 PM. If you are planning to attend, please let us know at or by calling 252-921-0260. The sail has limited spaces. See you there!

Educational Programs to Grow Aboard the Wilma Lee

Free September offerings to feature test programs "Anatomy of a Sailboat" and “Nautical Charts and Navigation"  

Ocracoke Alive has announced the recent hiring of Laura McClain to serve as part-time Educational Program Coordinator.  According to David Tweedie, Ocracoke Alive's Executive Director, McClain's initial focus will be on creating and marketing educational programming to take place aboard the organization's historic sailing vessel, the Skipjack Wilma Lee.

“In the long term, Ocracoke Alive is aiming to grow our educational mission,” Tweedie explained.  “We see that mission involving not just the Wilma Lee and not just school-age learners, but all ages and many areas of learning.”

Initially the organization will work to develop a series of educational programs which will take place around and aboard the Wilma Lee and which will be geared toward middle school students.  A book of lesson plans that was developed for Ocracoke Alive by LEARN NC (a spinoff of the UNC School of Education) will serve as a key guide in that process.

Ocracoke Alive hopes to be able to offer half day and then full day programming to both private and public schools around the state, and, of course, to students and teachers on the island.

“The first step in that development is to create a few 90 minute trial lesson plans and offer them for free to local students as Saturday programs,” McClain explained.
“We are taking small steps, beginning our programs, but we have plans to expand the content and offerings. Having an outdoor classroom aboard a historic boat will give us a platform for so many learning experiences and possibilities,” said McClain.

Besides the two programs they are offering next month, McClain described other possible lessons, including a program highlighting the Wilma Lee’s past as an oystering boat.  “That's next in the pipeline,” she explained, “but we have a lot of work to do and we have some great on-island experts who we are working with to create a collaborative program.”

Ocracoke Alive's initial educational programs will take place Saturday mornings during September.  The programs will be hands-on experiences, designed to entertain and educate all ages.  Kids (and anyone interested) will gather at the Wilma Lee at the Community Square dock.  Programs begin at 9:30 and run for 90 minutes.

"Anatomy of a Sailboat."  During this program, students will come to understand the differences between sail boats and other kinds of boats.  They will get to tour deep into the structure of the boat.  They will examine and take home “scantling drawings” of the skipjack.  Students will learn sailing terminology and classic knot tying.  They may even get to take a ride up the mast in a "bosun's chair." (Sept 10 and Sept 24)

"BUOY Bingo  - Nautical Charts and Navigation" During this program, students will learn the fundamentals in reading nautical charts, using longitude and latitude hydrographic maps to determining location in degrees, minutes and seconds, reading compasses and learning about nautical symbols.  Students will make their own compasses and investigate the variations in magnetic north as well as play a game that will allow them to locate different maritime and historical features in and around Ocracoke Inlet. (Sept 17 and Oct 1)

Please note:  for both of these two programs, the Wilma Lee will remain tied up at the dock.  Future programs will involve sailing trips in the sound. Interested in participating, please let us know by emailing or calling 252-921-0260.   

Fall into the Deep…Deepwater Theater that is!


While summer comes to a close, that doesn’t mean the fun at Ocracoke Alive’s Deepwater Theater has to! We’ve extended the run of each of our shows into September. This means if you’ve been busy like the rest of the island all summer and haven’t been able to make it to a show, or you’d like to get one more night in with Blackbeard, Molasses Creek, the Island Historian or the Pastor Poet, you can order your tickets online today. There are only a few weeks left!

Here are the remaining dates. For more show info, click on the links. Thanks!

Ocracoke School of Performing Arts will be starting up their fall classes in Deepwater Theater the week of September 12th with acting, dance, musical theater and private voice lessons. Information on these classes can be found at or by emailing

Ocracoke Alive proudly presents, the 1st Annual Festival Latino de Ocracoke on November 12th

If you have visited Ocracoke over the past twenty years, you have probably noticed the growing Latino population that has become part of our island community.  Some of these residents have their own businesses that you know and love (Eduardo’s Taco comes to mind . . . one moment, I need to run and pick up an order. . . Okay, I’m back!), and others you may have seen working at various jobs throughout the island. From the Ocracoke School to the fire department, the grocery stores to the restaurants and motels, Ocracoke depends upon these friends and neighbors who have come to call our remote island home. 

Ocracoke Alive is very excited this year to be partnering with members of the Latino Community to assist them in creating the very first Festival Latino de Ocracoke on Saturday, November 12th at the Ocracoke School and Community Center.  The festival organizers, Freddy Contreras, Adrian Espanosa, Gloria Perez, Eduardo Chavez, Cira Badillo, and David Tweedie have been hard at work creating a day filled with traditional games, dances, music, and food, that will be great fun for everyone. Special guests presentations include dance demonstrations by the Ballet Folklorico Guadalupano, and music by Fantasia Huasteca.

Daytime activities will take place at Ocracoke School from 11-5 PM, with an evening performance at the school gym from 7-9 PM (and a movie for the kids at Deepwater Theater). From 9 PM until midnight, the action will move to the Ocracoke Community Center for more dancing and fun.
In addition, during the week leading up to the festival, Ocracoke School students will have an opportunity to learn about Latino Culture, try their hand at piñata making, cooking, traditional dancing, and practicing their skills at games like raiguela, cintas, and much more.

If you are interested in helping sponsor the event, please contact David Tweedie at or 252-921-0260. Hope that you can join us! For more information and to keep up to date with plans, visit our Latino Festival page at

Ocrafolk Festival Memories, June 3-5, 2016

 It’s hard to believe that it is almost Labor Day. It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating Memorial Day and enjoying another amazing Ocrafolk Festival! Nestled between two tropical storms, we had quite a team working to pump out the lake that was the festival grounds Friday morning, while another group did highly effective rain dances to hold off the next storm until our three days of fun had concluded (which it did). 

So with a muddy beginning, the weekend turned beautifully. This year we had many firsts including music beginning Friday afternoon and Friday night’s “Taste of Ocracoke” with the introduction of “Ocrabucks.” Read Annelise Straw’s review on the Ocracoke Current at
While there are some first year kinks to be worked out with A Taste of Ocracoke, the food was great and many restaurants were happy about the business brought by Ocrabuck toting festival attendees! Our first 50/50 auction went well with stunning pieces donated by so many talented artists. With this new format under our belts next year’s auction promises to be even better.  If you are an artist interested in having your work in the 50/50 art auction, join our Ocracoke Alive e-news list at After the turn of 2017, we will send out a note letting you know that it is time to sign up!

The new musicians and bands fit right in to the mix of much loved returning artists. Fresh faces included Lipbone Redding, the Bucket Brothers, De Tierra Caliente, the Oak Grove String Band, Michael Stanwood, and the Madame Presidents. For our returning performers, each group had grown more, had more to share, and provided a unique and special element to the festival. With music from Friday afternoon through early Sunday evening, this was certainly our longest festival, yet it always seems to pass by too fast! Our artisans had such lovely collections of art, jewelry, and folk pieces that it was difficult not to walk away with one of everything. Paddy’s Hollar at the Magic Bean had much appreciated adult refreshments provided by Zillie’s, and local restaurants and cooks provided a variety of delicious lunch and dinner options.

Our Admiralty Cruise was a fantastic fundraising event that featured festival artists aboard the Skipjack Wilma Lee with wine, beer, hors d’oeuvres, and a sunset sail for certain levels of sponsors and those who had purchased tickets. If you haven’t spent time on this amazing vessel, you should try it our next year, it’s a pretty special treat! Saturday evening concluded with more intimate shows at Deepwater Theater dancing in the Community Square and the Community Center. 

From puppet parades and kid’s fun, to workshops and all-star jams, new faces and old favorites…this was a year to remember! We are so thankful to everyone who came out to the festival this year. Thank you to our outstanding sponsors, proud button wearers, INCREDIBLE volunteers, inspiring musicians and storytellers, mud-dancers, water-pumpers, artisans, food vendors, and the truly special island of Ocracoke that allows this wonderful festival to take over this tiny village every year. To read more and see more pictures from this year’s festival check out the Ocracoke Observers article “Ocrafolk Festival: Like a Family Reunion” at

Next year’s Ocrafolk Festival will be June 2-4, 2017. Keep up on all the festival news at

Ocracoke Fig Festival Unleashes a Fruity Frenzy

 While only in it’s third year, the Fig Festival in August is decadently delicious! The growing event featured two days of fig competitions (cake & preserves), performances by Molasses Creek, and Martin Garrish and friends, an Ocracoke square dance led by Philip Howard, fun booths selling fig related items, and an open house on the Skipjack Wilma Lee. 

This year Ocracoke Alive had a booth at the festival and sold our (rather appropriate) Ocracoke Alive t-shirts with the fig leaf on the front and the fig cake recipe on the back. Didn’t get yours? Just shoot us an email and let us know what sizes and colors you are looking for and we can see what we have left. We will be restocking for 2017 before the next season begins! 

Here is a tutorial on making Fig Muffins, produced by Gary Mitchell and David Tweedie. 

That's all for now! Look forward to seeing you off the island!